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Eye-catching and bold, out-of-home (OOH) advertising was one of the earliest forms of advertising and represents an excellent way for businesses to attract the attention of a mass audience.  The medium is particularly effective for local advertisers who want to build name recognition within the marketplace, but top national brands in telecommunications, finance, retail, real estate, and food services also rely heavily on this medium.

  • OOH advertising revenue experienced an increase of 20.7 percent in 2022, which accounted for $8.6B.

(Source: Outdoor Advertising Association of America, 2023)

  • Leading out-of-home advertising categories in the U.S. as of Q1 2022, by ad spending in millions
    • 473.9M - misc. services and amusements
    • 174.8M - retail
    • 155.0M - media and advertising
    • 122.5M - financial
    • 109.9M - government, politics & organizations
    • 108.1M - restaurants
    • 106.3M - public transportation, hotels & resorts
    • 97.3M - insurance & real estate
    • 68.5M - automotive dealers and services
    • 64.9M - schools, camps & seminars

(Source: Kantar Media; OAAA, June 2022)

This huge category is divided into four sectors, covering an array of advertising options listed below with the number of displays for each in 2022:

  • Billboards
    • Bulletins – 173,985
    • Digital Billboards – 11,500
    • Posters – 145,000
    • Junior Posters 19,000
    • Walls/Spectaculars – 2,310
  • Street Furniture
    • Bus Shelters – 64,838
    • Urban Furniture - 57,866
      • Bus Benches
      • Bike Kiosks
      • Newsstands
      • Outdoor Kiosks
      • Urban Panels
    • Digital St. Furniture – 10,815
  • Transit
    • Airports – 27,970
    • Digital Airports – 3,150
    • Buses – 1.35MM
    • Retail/Subway – 356,773
    • Digital Rail/Subway/Transit – 16,466
    • Mobile Billboards - 4,515
    • Taxis – 21,000
    • Digital Taxis/Rideshare – 71,400
    • Vehicle Wraps - 441,000
  • Place-Based OOH
    • Arenas & Stadiums - 1,338
    • Cinema – 34,800
    • Digital Place-Based Networks – 750,000
    • Interior Place-Based - 550,406
      • Gas Stations 
      • Convenience Stores
      • Restaurants/Bars 
      • Medical Point of Care
      • Office Buildings/Elevator
      • Grocery Stores
    • Shopping Malls – 24,255
    • Digital Shopping Malls – 12,507

(Source: Outdoor Advertising Association of America, 2022)

  • US Out-of-Home Ad Spending, by Format, in Q2 2022:
    • Billboards - $1,524.7 (69.6%)
    • Transit - $350.5 (16.0%)
    • Place-based - $178.6 (8.2%)
    • Street Furniture - $135.8 (6.2%)

(Source: OAAA, OOH by Format Q4 2022)

  • Industry Revenue in 2023 broken down by key product and service line:
    • Static billboards - $4.1bn (45.7%)
    • Digital billboards - $1.8bn (19.6%)
    • Transit displays - $1.2bn (13.0%)
    • Street Furniture and other urban fixture displays - $1.1bn (12.5%)
    • Alternative and other leased displays - $824.3m (9.2%)

(Source: IBSWorld, Billboard & Outdoor Advertising in the US, April 2023)

  • Industry Revenue in 2023 broken down by key markets:
    • Services - $2.7bn (30.3%)
    • Retail and consumer goods - $2.1bn (23.1%)
    • Entertainment - $1.9bn (21.0%)
    • Health/medical - $940.8m (10.5%)
    • Manufacturing - $654.1m (7.3%)
    • Government - $250.9m (2.7%)
    • Households consumers and individuals - $206.1m (2.3%)

(Source: IBSWorld, Billboard & Outdoor Advertising in the US, April 2023)

  • 61% of Adults 18+ have seen a billboard in the last month.

(Source: 2023 MRI-Simmons Spring Doublebase)

  • Adults 18+ who have seen a billboard in the last month:
    • 6% say advertising keeps them up-to-date about products and services that they need or would like to have.
    • 3% say advertising helps them choose products to buy for their kids.
    • 4% say they like to look at advertising.

(Source: 2023 MRI-Simmons Spring Doublebase)

  • 65% of AM/FM radio listening takes place out of home.
    • 44% of AM/FM radio listening takes place in the car.
    • 19% AM/FM radio listening takes place at work.

(Source: Nielsen National Regional Database, Adults 18+ - Q4 2022)

  • OOH industry growth and future success are predicated on a number of factors:
    • Mobile consumers who are outside their homes most of the day
    • Cost efficiency versus other media
    • Innovations (primarily digital) that bolster the value of OOH advertising
    • Less fragmented than many other media
    • Recent introduction of a new ratings system to facilitate buying

High Frequency:
  • Drivers may pass well-placed billboards on a daily basis, with frequent exposure resulting in recall
  • Passengers on mass transit, many other locations where advertising is placed are a captive audience, often for prolonged periods of time
Broad Reach: Offer potential for exposure among majority of consumers in their area
Billboards can direct prospective customers to a store, business or restaurant address
Attention Grabbers:
  • Large billboards can make a strong impact based on size, color, illumination
  • Video boards are enhanced eyecatchers
Constantly Visible: Exposure to messaging is available 24/7
Digital OOH technology allows consumers to connect via digital devices to obtain more information, connect with advertiser's site, even shop instantly
Can build word-of-mouth by generating curiosity in "teaser" campaigns
Relatively cost efficient per unit compared to broadcast, print and digital media
OOH in airports, offices enjoy exposure to more upscale audiences
Cinema advertising typically delivers highly desirable teens and younger adults with disposable incomes
Place-based advertising reaches consumers at the point of sale

Delivers mass audience but affords no demographic targeting capabilities
Fleeting Impressions for billboards
  • Exposure time is very short, typically 4-8 seconds
  • Exposure expanded if located near traffic intersection or areas where tie-ups occur
Difficult to measure exposure
  • OAAA and Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB) initiated audited traffic counts for posters
  • Typical visibility count ranges between 40-70%
Even those who see the creative are probably not fully engaged as they focus on other activities such as driving, limiting attention and recall
Consumers' concentration on mobile phones may supplant any attention to billboards, other formats including site placed
Copy Limitations: Creative must be brief and direct to account for short exposure times
Inflexible: Once a message is up, it generally stays up through the duration of the contract, even if the advertiser's needs have changed. Additionally, printing is expensive and may take weeks to produce and replace a display (New digital boards lessen this, but currently represent only a small percentage of OOH faces)
Creative can be easily damaged by weather or be vandalized
Poor Image: Government and environmental issues threaten OOH in some areas, limiting potential sites for placement
Clutter: In some markets or areas of markets there are so many billboards that individual messages may be swallowed up by the clutter; potential for new venues is virtually unlimited (elevators, bathrooms, etc.)

Limited programmatic advertising buys, which makes DOOH less scalable channel compared to more established digital channels. 

(Source: Forrester, Weigh The Pros And Cons Of 11 Emerging Marketing Channels, 2020)

In combination, radio and OOH deliver a balance of sight and sound to an on-the-go audience
  • 29% of adults that have seen a billboard in the last month strongly/somewhat agree radio provides them with useful information about new products and services. 

(Source: 2023 MRI-Simmons Spring Doublebase)

Radio adds frequency to the reach of an OOH message that the consumer might see only once (or once a day) on a billboard
Few radio listeners frequently change stations while in their cars, so a targeted message on radio can effectively supplement mass exposure to OOH creative
Combining radio with an outdoor campaign will increase reach and recall:
  • Radio signals cover the market, outdoor messages are available only where displayed
  • Radio travels with the consumer as they go about their daily routines and in all locations – at home, at work, and especially in cars
  • Radio+OOH increases range and frequency to increase recall
Most OOH advertising is fixed and remains in place for a pre-set period of time. Radio ad copy can be changed quickly, so messaging changes can be implemented to supplement or clarify OOH
OOH ads can tweak consumer's curiosity; radio ads will complement by delivering details
Inclement weather or adverse traffic conditions can adversely impact exposure to OOH advertising, but radio listening actually increases under these circumstances. American consumers depend on their car radios for weather and traffic reports, so OOH and radio make an effective drive-time combination every day.

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